Personal Finance 
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How to Save Money Every Month with Negotiation

Saving Money Every Month!Trying to find a way to save money every month is a lot like playing Whack a Mole. In April you might save some money by brown bagging your lunch to work. In May you might try some hypermiling driving tips, like easing up on the brakes or driving closer to the speed limit. By June, you’ll probably have stopped brown bagging lunch as often but you’ll try going out to bars less after work. It’s hard keeping everything straight, especially if you haven’t made it a habit.

That’s why the key to saving money every month is to reduce your overall “financial load.” That is, cut or reduce your fixed monthly expenses.
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 Personal Finance 
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How to Strong Arm Your Way to a Better Deal

The economic malaise has probably had an effect on your life, I know it has had one on mine. However, as bad as you think your personal prospects are, it’s worse for companies that have to make payroll, rent, and debt obligations. At the end of the day, you have to take care of you and your own, which is why I recommend that you periodically shop around and use that information to strong arm your way to a better deal on the services you already buy.

Don’t feel badly about using your most powerful a weapon, the power of choice, to negotiate a better deal. When you pay $60 or $80 or $100 a month for cable television, you’re not getting $60 or $80 or $100 worth of service. You’re getting something the company is selling to someone else for $30 a month. They will charge whatever the market will bear and it’s up to you, the consumer, to push back and tell them that their price is too high. At the end of the day, they would rather you spend $5 a month than quit and spend $0.

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 The Home 
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DirectTV Satellite Television Deals

If you hate your cable television, you might want to give satellite providers like DirectTV a look. My friends recently moved into a newly constructed home and discovered they had only one option when it came to cable television – dreaded Comcast. It turns out that in Baltimore, MD, Comcast has a monopoly on cable television service because they “made an agreement with the city” (in other words, Comcast pays the city for the right to offer cable). Until recently, Comcast was one of my only options for cable too, until Verizon FiOS came to town and began snatching up all Comcast’s disgruntled customers.

Rather than go back to Comcast, a company many of us hated dealing with, my friends looked at their options. They decided to go with DirectTV and their satellite television service, in part because they offer NFL Sunday Ticket. For what it’s worth, DirectTV was named #1 in Customer Satisfaction among national cable and satellite TV providers by the University of Michigan Business School in their 2008 American Customer Satisfaction Index.

They have many different packages but the one my friend Jeremy recommends is their PLUS HD + DVR Package, which has 200+ channels and 95 HD channels for only $49.99 a month (normally $72.99 a month). Included in the package is a Free DVR HD DVR Upgrade, which will save you a few dollars. He was planning on getting the NFL Sunday Ticket package so HD was a must, but the PLUS DVR package, which is ten dollars less, is the same number of channels just minus the HD channels (and the HD DVR of course).

Here is the full package line-up or give them a call at 866-277-2216 and they can explain it to you if this mish-mash of terms and explanations is a little confusing:

Name # Channels Promo $/Month Regular $/Month Savings
Premier Package 265+ $81.99 $104.99 $23
20 premium movie channels & 35 sports channels
Plus HD + DVR Package 200+ $49.99 $72.99 $23
Free HD DVR upgrade
Plus DVR Package 200+ $39.99 $62.99 $23
HBO, Showtime, & Starz for 3 months
Choice XTRA Package 200+ $34.99 $57.99 $23
HBO, Showtime, & Starz for 3 months, free DVR or HD DVR receiver
Choice Package 150+ $29.99 $52.99 $23
Family Package 45+ $29.99 $29.99 $0

The deals aren’t too shabby and my friend Jeremy seems to be pretty pleased with his experience thus far. You’ll also want to take advantage of their DirecTV referral program, which will save you a few bucks off your first year’s service.

If you have any experience with DirectTV, please share them in the comments.


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